3 Former Celtics Failing Miserably With Their New Teams in 2023

Sometimes a change and scenery can be productive. Unfortunately, that isn't the case for these three former Boston Celtics who are learning that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.
Marcus Smart is one former Celtics who's struggling with his new team during the 2023-24 NBA season.
Marcus Smart is one former Celtics who's struggling with his new team during the 2023-24 NBA season. / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3

3. Robert Williams, Portland Trail Blazers

Drafted 27th overall in 2018, Robert Williams is another player whom Celtics fans had high hopes for. While he isn't the biggest center (6-foot-9), he always played his heart out — especially on defense — whenever he was on the court, culminating in 2021-22 NBA All-Defensive Second-Team honors.

While Williams quickly became a fan favorite, even earning the moniker 'Time Lord,' his main issue is that he was typically on the sidelines more often than not. The injury bug was his worst enemy during his time with the Celtics, highlighted by his playing an average of 41.8 games across five seasons.

Williams' injury history likely made it easier for the Celtics to move on from him when he was traded (along with Malcolm Brogdon) to the Portland Trail Blazers in the move that brought in Jrue Holiday.

Unfortunately, the 26-year-old's move to Portland couldn't have gone worse. Williams only played six games in a Blazers jersey before suffering a season-ending knee injury against the Grizzlies on Nov. 5. The good news is that he's expected to make a full recovery before the 2024-25 campaign.

The bad news? Williams wasn't playing all that well before getting sidelined.

For starters, Deandre Ayton's presence meant that Williams was relegated to backup duties, averaging just 19.8 minutes per game without a start. While his 12.4 points per 36 minutes were slightly up from 2022-23, he was also shooting a career-worst 65.4% from the field, which is disappointing given that he shot 74.7% last year.

Per 100 possessions advanced stats also show that Williams' rebound and assist numbers have declined while his 2.9 turnovers and 7.0 personal fouls are the worst marks of his career. Even if it's an extremely small sample size, fans were hoping to see more from the gifted center.

There's a lot of time before the 2024-25 season begins, though, leaving time to tell if Williams will be ready to avoid further failure upon his return.

In other Celtics news: